I’m an employee on commission and I’m paying for product. Is this fair?


I’m an employee working on commission. My salon has us pay for the product that we use. If, say, we charge $25 for a fill, they deduct $3. Then we get 50% commission on $22 instead of $25. So pretty much we only get 40% in total since 10% is taken off the top to begin with. On a busy day my product costs can be more than $25, so basically I am not getting paid for an hour I worked and one service I did. Is this a common practice and do you think it’s fair?


This is done in the nail industry but more commonly in the hair end of the beauty business. As a salon owner for over 25 years, I also find it an unfair practice when you are an employee of the salon. The cost of products used in a service is considered the cost of doing business just like expenses such as workers’ compensation insurance or even toilet paper. As a salon owner, I have bigger payroll concerns than product used in the service. I do believe the days of 50% commission are gone. Adjustments need to made due to the increasing costs of doing business, such as putting tips on credit cards and debit cards and the salon paying merchants percentage on the tip or the added cost of taxes, which the salon matches on reported tips. Would I quit over it? No, so long as the product costs aren’t ridiculous. 

— Shari Finger is the owner of Finger’s Nail Studio in W. Dundee, Ill.


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